DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 29 January) — Officials of the Humanitarian Action Emergency Response Team (HEART) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM), along with social welfare officials received on Saturday 5,000 food packs “from the people of Davao City” as assistance to residents in flood-stricken areas.
Trucks from the Davao City government arrived at the ARMM compound early Saturday loaded with relief goods intended for Pagalungan and Datu Montawal town in Maguindanao.
Records from the ARMM – HEART show that as of January 24, a total of 7,950 families or 39,760 individuals from 13 towns in Pagalungan and 6,170 families or 30,850 individuals in 11 barangays in Datu Montawal.
The food packs will be distributed to these towns at 2,5000 packs each, Jo Henry, information officer and operations staff told MindaNews.
ARMM-HEART records show a total of 23,084 families or 115,420 persons were affected by the flooding in Maguindanao’s two towns and five towns in Lanao del Sur.
In Lanao del Sur, 8,926 families or 44,810 individiuals in 127 barangays in the towns of Bubong, Ditsaan Ramain, Taraka , Maguing and Kapai were affected.
The local government units, Maguindanao provincial government and the ARMM-HEART extended assistance to residents in all the affected areas in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, the ARMM-HEART said.
Permanent evacuation centers
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman thanked the Dabawenyos led by Mayor Sara Duterte for the help.
Hataman in a press briefing last week proposed the construction of concrete facilities as permanent evacuation sites in flood-prone, low-lying communities in the region.
In the last two weeks, residents who have had to evacuate to higher ground in Pagalungan and Datu Montawl took refuge on the side of the national highway.
The ARMM-HEART as part of its immediate response installed community kitchens to meet the needs of residents fleeing disasters aside from installing incident command centers to monitor the needs of residents.
The province of Maguindanao’s Peoples Medical Team- the humanitarian arm of the province — sent food packs and bundles of plastic tarpaulin to be used as temporary shelter.
Residents in flood-prone areas have returned to their homes but local disaster response teams in the these areas are on alert due to the trough of a low pressure area and tailend of a cold front.
Assistance to other areas
On January 21, the Davao City government also sent some 5,000 food packs to Cagayan de Oro City, which suffered its worst flooding since typhoon Sendong struck the area in December 2011.
The food packs were personally brought by Central 911 chief Emmanuel Jaldon and was received by the Local Government of Cagayan de Oro, the City Information Office (CIO) said.
The Davao City Council under Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte on January 24 approved P2.2 million cash assistance at P250,000 each for nine flood-stricken areas: Jabonga in Agusan del Norte; Talacogon and Loreto in Agusan del Sur; Lagonglong and Lugait in Misamis Oriental; Boston and Cateel in
Mayor Duterte had earlier asked the SP to immediately respond to the needs of flood victims in neighboring areas.
Danilo Dayanghirang, chair of the SP committee on ways and means, said the city has a tradition of extending assistance to calamity-affected areas.
The city was among the first to send help to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities when it was hit by Typhoon Sendong in December 2011, the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental when super typhoon Pablo struck these areas in December 2012, and in Leyte and Samar which was devastated by Yolanda, the world’s strongest recorded typhoon.
The CIO quoted Dayanghirang as saying the P2.2 million assistance will be sourced from the remaining P98.6 million Quick response Fund of the city for 2017.
Davao City has a total budget of P340.4 million for Disaster Risk Reduction Management. Of this, P102.1 million is allocated as Quick Response Fund.
Dayanghirang said that since the city is seldom hit by typhoon, “we usually extend assistance to those who were devastated by calamities. They just have to declare that they are under a state of calamity.” (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews, with reports)